Ted Stevens in plane crash; Update: KTUU says Stevens among dead; Update: Family confirms Stevens' death

Terrible news, if this turns out to be true:

Former Republican Senator Ted Stevens was aboard a plane that crashed in Alaska, and it was not immediately clear whether he survived, a congressional source said on Tuesday.

Half of those aboard the plane were killed in the crash and a doctor is apparently on the scene, though rescuers are having trouble reaching the site because of bad weather, the source said, declining to be further identified.

I’ve seen reports on the crash all morning, but this is the first definitive report to claim that Stevens was aboard that I’ve caught.  Our prayers are with everyone involved, of course, and we’ll update this as the news becomes clearer.

Update: KTUU says Stevens is among the dead:

Dave Dittman, a former aide and longtime family friend of former Sen. Ted Stevens says Stevens was killed in a plane crash near Dillingham Monday night. Nine people were on board, including former NASA Chief Sean O’Keefe. Five people were killed in the crash, but other identities were not known, nor are the conditions of the survivors.

Late through the night rescue crews were battling bad weather conditions to reach the scene, where Good Samaritan personnel had already made it, said Air National Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes.

Again, our prayers go out to the Stevens family and their friends.

Update II: Reuters says that the death has not been confirmed:

The friend, Dave Dittman, told local Alaska news outlets that he had been told Stevens had died in the crash, but in a new statement said “that has not been confirmed.”

Update III: The Stevens family confirmed his death to ABC News:

Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens died in a plane crash in southwest Alaska, a spokesman for the Stevens’ family confirmed to ABC News today. …

The Stevens’ family released a statement earlier offering their prayers for all those on board and for their families.

“We thank the brave men and women who are working to reach the site. We continue to work with the Alaska National Guard, the US Coast Guard and the Alaska State Troopers. We thank everyone for their support and prayers,” the statement read.